If We Stop Trying … Then What?

This past Thursday I had the pleasure of hanging out with members of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS) Halifax and we had a great evening together. There was lots of laughter and a lot of learning; three hours went by in minutes.

And as we moved through our discussion of telephone communication I had to acknowledge that these fun people, who’s job it is to get up in front of large audiences and be informative and entertaining (which is a pretty daunting thing to do for a living) had something in common with 90% of the people who attend my workshops – they have a tremendous resistance to picking up the phone to talk to their potential clients.

This drives me crazy!!!!!

Who are we – whether we are entrepreneurs or part of a small company or large corporation – who are we without our clients?

We aren’t! Without clients “we” do not exist as The Phone Lady or anything else. So doesn’t it seem preposterous to say that we can’t, won’t, don’t talk to our potential clients on the phone? Isn’t that tantamount to, well, destroying your own company?

One of the individuals in the audience on Thursday said “But we love speaking in public and we’re good at it. We don’t love talking on the phone.”

Fair enough – but were you good at speaking in public right away, or did it take some practice?

And this is really the point of this week’s blog – being good on the phone, that powerful communication tool that you already own, are already paying for each month, takes practice. Lots of practice. And its absolutely vital that you don’t give up. Most especially if you are an entrepreneur because you are your best salesperson!

I know that when I stand in front of a group I make talking on the phone look as easy as eating ice cream. And for me it is because I’ve actually spent more time in my life talking on the phone than eating … anything. I practice my skill almost everyday – so I’m good at it.

What I’m not good at, because of several car accidents when I was a young girl, is driving a car. I know for most of you this sounds completely nutty. “What!” you’re thinking. “How can anyone get through life without driving a car? Why would anyone even want to do that?” Funny, this is my reaction when someone won’t pick up the phone.

When I lived in Toronto, the drivers’ license was far from being a necessity. It’s easy to navigate that city without a vehicle. But now my home is Halifax, or perhaps more accurately, Nova Scotia, and not being able to drive a car is a bit of a handicap. Fortunately I have the world’s most generous husband, but if I didn’t, well, The Phone Lady would suffer for sure.

So I continue to push against my resistance to driving. I practice and practice and practice. It is a very long road for me because, behind the wheel of a car, I feel my most vulnerable. Behind the wheel of a car, I am my most fearful. But every time I drive the car, every time a do a great merge onto or off the highway, or work my way smoothly through the Armdale Rotary, I become more confident. The fear falls away. And while it is going to take me, no exaggeration, ten times longer than most of the world’s population to do, I am going to have a drivers’ license one day. I won’t give up until I do.

Practicing something that is important to you doesn’t end after five tries, or 10 tries, or even 110 tries. When you decide to practice and learn something you are making a timeless commitment. I mean even though I’m The Phone Lady, I still attend others’ workshops on the phone, purchase their books, watch their DVDs.

So this is my wish for each of you, that you decide to practice and learn more about excellent telephone communication. That you make the timeless commitment to “phonework”. I’m cheering for you!


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What's The Phone Lady doing?


  • Remote learning experiences + one-on-one coaching for women entrepreneurs (More info about this three-year program here.)
  • Team and individual coaching with a national moving company to refine their sales process
  • Remote half-day training for provincial tourism representatives
  • Remote seven-part sales training program for US-based SaaS
  • Remote webinar on accounts receivable communication for industrial-services company
  • Remote webinar on validation to college students in entrepreneur program
  • In-person workshop on job search skills for women in the trades
  • Remote half-day webinar on written correspondence to customers

Do you or your team want to improve your communication skills? Do you have a communication question or challenge you'd like to discuss? This quick-to-fill-out form is easy to use and you'll hear from Mary Jane very soon.